A major improvement is coming to Carmel’s Merchants Square shopping center. Texas-based Flix Brewhouse plans to inject new life into what is now mostly empty space by opening a combination movie theater-microbrewery in the 40,000 square-foot space that was formerly occupied by the Hobby Lobby store.
Merchants Square’s landlord, Michigan-based Ramco-Gershenson Inc., recently applied for a zoning variance to allow fewer parking spaces. As it stands now, the city requires a total of have 1,960 parking spaces to accommodate the estimated influx of traffic. To create room for an additional 61 spaces the vacant Old Navy store that is current on short-term lease to Halloween City will be demolished, along with a neighboring retail space and around 10,000 square feet of the Hobby Lobby space. Valet parking may also be offered when parking is scarce.
The Merchants Square shopping center has been struggling for some time. The addition of a Flix Brewhouse will no doubt be a welcomed addition by the merchants that are already there. It is estimated that as many as 711 customers could be present at the location during Flix Brewhouse’s peak hours, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. This is based on an extensive analysis, the IBJ recently reported.
When finished some time next year, the 40,000 square-foot theatre/dining venue will seat close to 1,000 guests and feature 8 movie screens, seat-side dining and an on-site microbrewery. The lobby/bar area will be open to non-movie guests with no ticket required.